I was back in Worcester for a year when in June of 2009 I had a physical with my new primary doctor. Of course like any physical you have to get weighed in. This was the first time I was on a scale in over 18 months- I topped the scale at 244. I decided I couldn’t do it anymore. I didn’t want to be like this! I began to pursue a behavioral weight program at UMass which consisted of 5 weeks with a psychologist, 5 weeks with a clinical physiologist and 5 weeks with a nutritionist. Before I had started the program I lost 12 pounds in a matter of 6 weeks so I was motivated. I ended the program at about 203lbs. For about two months I plateaued and then I shot back up to 212. I had some time off work and used that to focus on myself, my goals, aspirations and rededicating myself to fitness and a healthy lifestyle.
Today my eating habits are totally different. Instead of inhaling my food I focus on when my body is hungry versus being bored and wanting to just eat for the heck of it. I’ve cut out red meats and my fat intake is low but I’ve explored and have learned to love different types of foods and cultures. I actually enjoy cooking now! I prepare all my meals when I know I’ll be working or going away for the day. My life now is totally different. I honestly don’t even feel like the same person I was for most of my life. I look back now and realize how much my weight negatively affected me. I hated myself…and even life in general, and I never socialized. Now I have no problem putting myself out there and meeting new people. For the first time ever, I’m happy with myself because I’m taking care of me. Looking good and taking care of yourself translates into feeling good. I could preach all day about how much of an impact my diet and exercise regimen has changed my life. With maturity and awareness I have decided that I CAN get the life I want if I stop negatively talking to myself and getting in my own way. From the words of my father telling me no one will ever love me if I’m fat, to my mother giving me funny looks as I've shed the pounds, along with other family members telling me I've lost too much weight when I really haven’t.
I am currently working at a gym and going for my personal training certification at the end of April. Come May 2nd I will be certified! Its still amazes me that who I am now is the same person I was for most of my life. Change can happen and you can be who you want to be, you just need to be determined, positive and know you can be a beautiful creation. Living a healthy lifestyle and exercising helps me battle what I genetically have going against me; mental illness, diabetes, drug addiction, heart disease, high blood pressure… it’s all there. And it’s stopping with me. I want to be a model for young women showing that you can alter your lifestyle to change your life. Learning how to blend who you were and who you are and with who you want to be is no easy task. My story shows that you can do it and at any age – you just have to put your mind in the game.
(By the way, I'd love to get perspectives from others who have gone the same route in becoming a personal trainer to give me advice in this industry! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or message me on twitter, @elisefletcher.)
[Have you or has someone you know overcome incredible odds to reclaim your health through nutrition and exercise. Tell us your story and you could be our next guest blogger on The Burn. Email us at Firestarter@splits59.com]
AUTHOR: Elise Fletcher